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Treating Depression with Natural Alternatives

Updated on January 15, 2012

I know from personal experience that living with depression is painful and frustrating. Living with depression is like having to push an elephant up the stairs with no help from anyone. Depression isolates, causing a constant feeling of helplessness and an inability to enjoy life. Depression is believed to be caused by a very low level of serotonin and noradrenalin. Low levels of other neurotransmitters such as Dopamine or GABA can also contribute to having depression. Depression is linked to genetics, since it does run in families. Eight million women and four million men suffer from depression. Therefore, you are twice as likely to suffer from depression if you are a woman. I wonder if the men in some women's lives have something to do with this. Seventy percent of the nation’s 30,000 annual suicides are linked to depression.

There are of course, the conventional treatments for depressions. Prescriptions drugs that are one of various classes, and these are: MAO inhibitors, tricyclics, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's) and then there are atypical antidepressants such as Trazodone. Your doctor may prescribe any one of these types of antidepressants, depending on your symptoms or even insurance coverage. Some of these drugs are very expensive and a doctor will check if a patient is covered financially, before recommending some of the latest and most expensive drugs. Although, many of these treatment plans are effective and often give immediate relief, they often also have side effects. Side effects may vary from one individual to another.

For those who are looking for another option for treating depression, there is an alternative. You can treat depression with amino acids and herbal combinations. 5HTP has been proven to raise serotonin levels. Tryptophan also raises serotonin level since it is what 5HTP is derived from. St. John Wart also helps and can be taken with 5HTP since they both work synergistically. For low dopamine levels, supplements containing L-Theanine are known for raising dopamine level. A great supplement containing L-Theanine that I would personally recommend is called Lumina by Metagenics. For low levels of noradrenalin, you need to help build up your adrenals. An excellent product for adrenal care, which I personally recommend is Adreset by Metagenics. It is also advisable that you get a Neuro-endocrine test when beginning your treatment. This way your naturopath can recommend the amino acids or herbs that would be best for your particular needs.

Treating depression using natural alternative plans can take time. I would also recommend that at first, you take nothing less than the highest quality herbs and amino acids. These products usually meet higher manufacturing standards, and are often more potent. As your body heals, you may be able to replace these with brands that are more economically priced.

You may also have to be tested for other ailments. A digestive test is also a very good way to know if parasites might be at the root of your problem. Parasites, such as hook worms live in the small intestines and this is where 5HTP is converted into serotonin causing a lack of serotonin, which leads to depression. It is also advisable to check for food allergies, and other deficiencies in your body. Certain deficiencies in one's body such as low B12 can also contribute to depression.

Whatever treatment plan you choose, whether it's using standard pharmaceuticals or a natural alternative. Make sure it's safe and that the side effects do not outweigh the benefits. As always, listen to your body.

The pain of living with depression is like pushing an elephant up the stairs.
The pain of living with depression is like pushing an elephant up the stairs.


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      keelytm 5 years ago

      Thanks for this interesting take. I also suffer from depression and haven't ever had any success with traditional medications. They just never changed things for me. So I am definitely open to trying more natural remedies. Metagenics Adreset is something I am interested in trying. I've had a doctor tell me before that my adrenal glands might be running low. I didn't know that it might be affecting my depression. ( )

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 7 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Thank you Missi Darnell, I'm happy to hear that you are feeling 100% better. I know what it is like to struggle with depression and I have been treated with both pharmaceuticals and natural supplements. Lately, I'm just using natural supplements and I find it works so far. Thanks for sharing with me. I hope you continue to feel good.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Good informative article. Good for people to know that there are alternatives out there. I do both and I can tell you that I do feel 100% better when taking my vitamin/herbal regimen each day. Which includes the L-Theanine. Good hub, rated up!